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Divorce Solicitors Wakefield

Specialist Divorce Solicitors Wakefield

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Wakefield Divorce and Family Law Solicitors

Our divorce and family law solicitors in Wakefield are committed to getting you the outcome that you want and know how important it is to be listened to. You will be assigned a specialist family lawyer for your case, and they will be available to answer all of your questions and re-assure any concerns.

To learn more about our expert approach to divorce law – click here.


How can our family law solicitors help?

Our divorce and family law solicitors help clients from Wakefield and the surrounding area with a range of legal issues, including:


Why getting the “right legal advice” matters?

Going through a divorce is an extremely emotional and difficult time for many couples. When there is a family business involved it can be even more stressful and can cause a lot of anxiety and arguments between you and your spouse. You may feel that you are being pushed out of the family business and no longer have control over what’s going on.

Getting the right legal advice as early on in the divorce process as possible can help to put your mind at rest and make you feel more in control of the situation. The business will need to be disclosed as part of the full financial disclosure that you and your spouse should do early on in the divorce process. You will need to decide what you would like to get out of the family business. This should include things such as whether you want to have a share of the business or whether you would prefer not to be involved in the business at all.

Our Wakefield divorce and family law solicitors specialise in advising high net worth individuals or spouses of high net worth individuals. Our expert team of divorce and family law solicitors can advise you on your circumstances and help you to achieve the best possible outcome for you.


What do I need to do first?

If you haven’t done so already, you should find a specialist divorce solicitor or family lawyer from a firm such as Austin Kemp to advise you on the entire divorce process. Getting the right legal advice early on can make a real difference to the outcome of your settlement and can even help you to feel more in control.

Once you instruct our Wakefield divorce and family law solicitors, you should discuss everything with us and anything you know about the business and any worries or concerns you have. This includes things such as who owns the business, whether it owns any properties and what kind of lifestyle the income from the business has allowed you and your family to have.

As well as discussing everything about the business with our Wakefield divorce and family law solicitors, you should also talk to them about what you want to achieve from the divorce settlement. For example, do you want to become an owner of the business and have a say in how the business is run? Or would you rather not be involved? Once you have thought about this and discussed these things, your solicitor will have a better idea of what you should be negotiating for. Please note if you are unsure at this stage you can contact our divorce and family law solicitors for assistance.


Our Wakefield divorce and family law solicitors are located in the heart of Wakefield city centre

We are located in a landmark contemporary, glass building in Wakefield. Our Wakefield divorce solicitors are centrally located in Wakefield next to the financial district where our neighbours include major high street banks, legal firms and accountants and the city’s main railway station.

Our Wakefield divorce and family law solicitors specialise in high net worth divorce and family breakdown cases. Our wealth of legal and business knowledge and experience allows us to apply a direct no-nonsense commercial approach to your case to achieve your objectives.

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Contact Number: 01924 950 052


Your Guide to applying for a divorce

This guide prepared by our divorce and family law solicitors describes, from start to finish, the process for applying for a divorce. If you decide to do a divorce yourself rather than be represented by a solicitor then the court will refer to you as a ‘litigant in person’.  The process of dissolving a marriage is now known as a ‘divorce application’ (note: many solicitors, websites and people still use the old term ‘divorce petition’).  This guide deals only with the divorce – not with the two related areas of financial settlements and child contact and residence. If you are unsure at this stage you can speak with our divorce and family law solicitors for assistance.


(a) Have you been married at least one year?

You cannot apply for a divorce until you have been married for at least 1 year. If you haven’t been married that long then you can get separated and optionally put in place a separation agreement – but you will have to wait until the first anniversary of the marriage before applying for divorce. In some circumstances, namely a very short marriage which has not been consummated (you have not had sex) then it may be possible to get the marriage annulled.


(b) Are you entitled to get divorced in England (and Wales)?

To get divorced in this country you must show that you have sufficient connections with England or Wales. The court will want to know that you are either: a) living in England or Wales (known as residence) or b) regard England or Wales as your home country (known as domicile).

In short – one of the following should be true:

  • You and your husband (or wife) both have your permanent homes (known as domicile) in England and Wales when the divorce petition is started; or
  • You and your husband (or wife) are both living in England and Wales when the divorce petition is started; or
  • You and your husband (or wife) both had your last home in England and Wales and one of you must still be living in either of these countries when the petition is stated; or
  • Your husband (or wife) must be living in England or Wales when the divorce petition is started; or
  • You must have been living in England and Wales for at least a year on the day the divorce petition is started; or
  • You must have your permanent home in England or Wales and have been living in either of these countries for at least six months on the day the divorce petition is started.


If your case is complicated because you are foreign nationals or are English ex-pats living abroad feel free to call our divorce and family law solicitors for clarification.


(c) Do you have a sufficient reason for the court to grant you a divorce?

You have to provide the court with a reason for the divorce – these reasons are sometimes know as the ‘grounds for divorce‘.

For a divorce application to be successful, you must show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by establishing one of the following five facts about divorce as proof:


Adultery of the other spouse

You cannot get divorced because of your own adultery – only because of your spouse’s adultery. In general you should not name the person that your spouse cheated with in your application – as it gains you nothing and can add considerably to the costs. You should only proceed on grounds of adultery if the spouse who committed adultery is happy to admit to it. This is because it is very difficult to prove adultery (you need video footage of sex taking place, or a pregnancy – hotel receipts and text messages/photos etc are not enough). If you proceed with an adultery application and your spouse won’t sign the papers to admit the adultery then you will have to start again and will have wasted a good deal of money.


Desertion by the other spouse after two years

This is rarely used – it refers to the cases where a spouse has literally disappeared and has not been in touch.


Separation with consent after two years

This is a good reason to use if you can as it avoids laying the blame on either side. You must however have been living in separate addresses for at least 2 years. It is just about possible to claim two years separation when you have actually been living in the same house but you need documentary evidence of doing separate shopping / laundry / bills etc. If the courts are not satisfied that you have been properly separate for two years your application may be rejected. This reason can only be used if both parties agree, so don’t apply using this reason unless you have checked that your ex agrees.


Separation without consent after five years

This reason also avoids any blame. It can be used even if your ex doesn’t agree to the divorce. The downside is obviously that five years is a long time to wait.


Unreasonable behaviour

This is the ‘catch-all’ reason used when none of the other reasons apply. It is probably the most common reason given for divorce because: a) it allows you to get divorce right away without waiting and b) you don’t need your spouse to admit to the unreasonable behaviour (unlike adultery) and so they cannot block the divorce. It is still better if your spouse agrees to sign their divorce papers as this will keep the costs down. You will need to detail four or five examples of unreasonable behaviour ( though it doesn’t have to be anything terrible). Reasons such as: frequent arguing or making you feel ignored and isolated or lack of sex can all be valid reasons for a divorce under unreasonable behaviour if worded correctly.

Please note if you are unsure at this stage you can contact our divorce and family law solicitors for assistance.


How to send your divorce application to court?

Once you have decided to proceed with divorce, and you have decided which reason ( or ‘grounds’) to use for the divorce then you can start to complete the Divorce Application form (also called the Divorce Petition). If you have dependent children then you need to include their details in the D8 – please note that the Statement of Arrangements (D8A) is no longer used.

You first need to complete Form D8 (the divorce petition) and, if you have children you should also complete Part 7 in the D8 – Details of the Children.

When you have completed the form make two photocopies so that you have 3 copies in total.  Keep one copy for yourself and send two copies to court, one is for the court and the other is for the court to send to your spouse.

Send the completed form to your regional Divorce Centre together with the marriage certificate and a cheque for the court fee.  The court fee for processing the divorce is £550. If you intend to use a cheque for payments to court they should be made out to HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

If your divorce is based on unreasonable behaviour then you might want to let your spouse see a copy of the divorce petition before you send it to court to give them a chance to review the unreasonable behaviour statements and make changes to them if there are any sentences that they find particularly upsetting. Please note if you are unsure at this stage you can contact our divorce and family law solicitors for assistance. If you are unsure at this stage and need further assistance you can contact our divorce and family law solicitors.


The terminology

The spouse who initiates the divorce application becomes known as the petitioner.
The other spouse will be referred to in the legal documents as the respondent.


What happens when the Respondent receives and returns divorce documents?

The court sends some paperwork to your spouse (the respondent) to inform them that you have applied for a divorce and to request their approval to the divorce proceeding uncontested. The respondent is expected to respond to the court within 8 days. Around a week after the court receives your correctly completed Divorce Petition, the court will send a package of documents to the respondent. Within 8 days the respondent is expected to return the Acknowledgement of Service form to the court.

The Respondent must acknowledge receipt of the petition by completing and sending (to the court and the petitioner) the acknowledgement of service form they have been sent.

The main decisions at this point are:


(1) Do you accept that the divorce should go ahead? Or do you wish to defend (prevent) the divorce?

It is unusual to defend the divorce as once one party has reached the point of petitioning there is little the other party can do to prevent the inevitable breakdown of the marriage.


(2) Do you accept the grounds (reasons given) for the divorce?

It is not uncommon for the respondent to object to the grounds given on the petition. However unless you have a very strong objection then in practical terms it is usual to not take the grounds to personally and to leave them as stated and get on with the process.


(3) Are you prepared to accept and pay for the costs of the divorce?

The general principles as to the costs of an undefended divorce are as follows:

It is common for the petitioner to include a claim for costs in the divorce petition. Sometimes the claim is expressed to be effective only if the petition is defended.

The respondent must use the Acknowledgement of Service to indicate whether a claim is accepted or disputed or limited to a specific amount.

If the respondent rejects the claim for costs the petitioner must state in the affidavit in support of petition whether or not the claim is pursued.

If the petitioner progresses the claim the judge will usually invite the respondent to attend the pronouncement of decree nisi to argue the point. If this is a significant issue the hearing may be adjourned to be dealt with when there is more time available.

The costs in issue in the divorce proceedings are just the costs in relation to the divorce itself and not any correspondence concerning financial issues or children issues. It is unusual for the costs of an undefended divorce to exceed £800 and is often less.

Once you have decided on each of the above three items, then you complete and return (to the court) the acknowledgement of service.

Your spouse is supposed to respond to court within 8 days. During this period most people are in communication with their spouse of their spouse’s solicitor and you will probably get some indication of if they have any issues with the document and if/when they plan to return it.

If they say they will return the documents but it will take a little longer than 8 days then it is worth being patient for a week or two.


Should I defend the petition?

The main reason to defend the petition is if you do not wish the divorce to go ahead, or if you strongly object to the reasons (grounds) given by your partner.


I am not happy to accept the ‘unreasonable behaviour’ grounds, What do I do?

If you accept that divorce is inevitable, there is little point in fighting the divorce petition, even if you disagree with some of the ‘unreasonable behaviour’ cited. Courts will these days accept grounds which are less confrontational (such as workaholic, or lack of attention) so there really is no need to list exaggerated/extreme behaviour. You could negotiate with your ex for her to amend the petition to list behaviour examples that you find “acceptable”.


My new partner has been listed as co-respondent, what does this mean?

In adultery cases the petitioner can either say the adultery occurred with an un-named person or they can name the person as a co-respondent. (This is less common these days as it causes friction and serves little practical purpose). It doesn’t have a great impact on the process or the finances. The court is really only concerned with the parties to the marriage.


Apply for Decree Nisi

If the your spouse signs and returns their paperwork to the court then a few days later the court will send you a copy of the  Form D10 (Acknowledgment of Service) signed by your spouse.

The following information is also included in the documents that the court send you:

  • that the respondent and any co-respondent has received the divorce petition;
  • that the respondent and any co-respondent have admitted to committing adultery if this was the grounds for divorce;
  • that the respondent consents to a divorce, if the grounds for divorce were that you have been separated for and living apart for two years.

You can now apply to the Court for the Decree Nisi. The petitioner must provide a statement of truth in support of divorce application using Form D80 to confirm that the contents of the Form D10 (acknowledgment of service) are correct.

There are five versions of form D80:

  • D80A Adultery
  • D80B Unreasonable behaviour
  • D80C Desertion
  • D80D Two years separation by consent
  • D80E Five years separation

When completing the statement  and confirming the signature of the respondent, write a letter A (uppercase) next to the actual signature on the D10. If the D10 has been signed by a solicitor on behalf the respondent you do not need to refer to the signature or attach to the D80. The signature is called the article.

D80 is a statement of truth in support of divorce application, it was known as the affidavit before April 2011, the new form D80 no longer needs to be sworn in court.

Once the Judge has the divorce application (form D8) along with the application for Decree Nisi (forms D84 and D80), along with the respondents acknowledgment (form D10) the application will be considered, if there are no errors and the Judge agrees the marriage has broken down you will both receive a letter giving you the date when the Decree Nisi will be granted.

The court then makes an appointment for the pronouncement, this being about 5 weeks after sending the application for a Decree Nisi to the court. It is not a requirement that the parties be present when the Decree Nisi is pronounced and the court will send to the petitioner, respondent and co-respondent Form D29 (Decree Nisi).

If you are using either unreasonable behaviour or adultery and the costs are disputed – you will both be asked to attend court usually when the Decree Nisi is to be pronounced to make your respective case for costs after which the judge will decide who is to pay and how much.

Once the Decree Nisi is granted effectively the divorce is granted, Decree Nisi translates as Decree unless, from this point it is very difficult to withdraw the application.

Please note if you are unsure at this stage you can contact our divorce and family law solicitors for assistance.


Apply for Decree Absolute

When the Decree Nisi is granted, 6 weeks and 1 day later the petitioner can apply for the final decree called the Decree Absolute and submit Form D36 (notice of application for Decree Nisi to be made absolute). This is processed within a few days and the Court can then grant the Decree Absolute making the divorce final. The court will sent to the petitioner and respondent Form D37 (Decree Absolute). If as petitioner you need the decree absolute as soon as possible so you can remarry for example you should contact the court and ask when it can be collected.


Importance of a Consent Order

Before making application for the decree absolute you should consider having a consent order drafted by a solicitor,this should then be sent to court before the absolute application to be sealed (stamped) making it binding once the decree absolute is granted. The application fee to lodge the order with court is £50. A consent order makes any financial agreement you both have legally binding, it also ends any financial claims either of you have on each others assets in the future once and for all. Please note if you are unsure at this stage you can contact our divorce and family law solicitors for assistance.


What do our clients say about our Wakefield divorce and family law solicitors?

“Just want to say thanks so much for everything. You have been brilliant and very patient. I always felt comfortable calling when asking to clarify certain points of the divorce.”  – Client 2017


“Very professional service! Explained everything they were doing for my case every step of the way and really helped me to understand how we would proceed. Thank you!”  – Client 2017


“The service I have received has been nothing short of excellent. Thank you to all the team of Austin Kemp.”  – Client 2017


You can read more reviews and comments from our clients on our Google Reviews page.


Nearest Transport Links


We are less than 10 minutes’ walk from Wakefield Westgate. It is also just a 10 minute stroll from the city’s other rail station, Wakefield Kirkgate.


Our client meeting offices are just few minutes walk from the Wakefield bus station. Click here for bus times and info.


Wakefield city centre has around 50 cycle stands located in different places with space for 100 cycles to be secured to for free. These include to the side of Sainsbury’s and the side of Asda Living. Motorbikes can park here for free, we suggest using the Asda Living entrance and buzzing the car park barrier on arrival for entry – bike spaces are just on the left as you enter.


If you are using Sat-Nav, use the following postcode WF1 1QR.

When approaching Wakefield city centre, follow all signs marked TW to find a convenient car park main on Marsh Way (A61). There are 1,000 spaces and the car park is open 24 hours. The car park is large, well lit and is spread across two levels. It holds the official Park Mark award.

From the North via the M1, take junction 41 and then first exit onto A650 into Wakefield and follow TW signs towards A61 ring road. From the South via the M1, take junction 40, then third exit onto A638 and follow signs to Wakefield city centre then follow TW signs. From the East via the M62, take junction 30 and follow A642 into Wakefield city centre then signs for TW. From the West on the M62, take junction 29, to join the M1. Leave the M1 at junction 41 and take the first exit onto A650 into Wakefield and follow signs for TW.

Make The First Move

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What do our clients say about our service?

Thoroughly excellent service provided via Wikivorce. Was slightly apprehensive of how it would all work, especially at a distance. However, they were swift, efficient, immensely polite, accurate, and gave regular updates. I would recommend them to anyone.

Review of Austin Kemp from Jenny Amphaeris Jenny Amphaeris

Can't fault my experience in any way. Brilliant advice / available at short notice for any questions and most importantly swiftly achieved the desired result. Found Austin Kemp after feeling HCB Solicitors were not acting in my best interests and I was correct on all fronts - even including having an appreciation for the fact Divorce is already emotional situation. Also, rather than have to query every suggested next step and be charged for the pleasure; As I'd done a little research of my own and was able to challenge their advice - however we pay Solicitors for their expertise and need to put our trust in them. Austin Kemp thankfully achieved that for me during our first conversation I was already reassured they understood what I wanted and how best to achieve it. Resulting in 7-8 months less work and no court appearances as I had been previously advised by HCB. I THANK YOU DEARLY AUSTIN KEMP. I can start my life again earlier and with a healthier bank balance because of you!!!

Review of Austin Kemp from Ro Graham Ro Graham

Amazing service. For the first time in nearly two years I feel less in a spiral and more in control.

Review of Austin Kemp from George Grey George Grey

Thoroughly professional, straightforward, timely and reasonably priced. I would recommend this firm to anyone. Thank you Emma and Austen Kemp for a great service.

Review of Austin Kemp from Michelle Jeffrey Michelle Jeffrey

Thank you so much. You were great. I wasted so much time and money with my previous solicitors and only regret I did not contact you earlier. I have dropped a line to Paul to thank him for referring me to you. I hope you enjoyed the red I sent you as a token of our appreciation.

Review of Austin Kemp from Sophie Taylor Sophie Taylor

Austin Kemp provides a pragmatic and honest approach to the individual's journey through Family Law issues. They demonstrate a willingness and capacity to respond to challenging and unpredictable circumstances. The professional, yet personal, service is naturally client centred, but with a realistic and informed view of children's needs. And it has been heartening to have such a caring team walk beside me in the long journey.

Review of Austin Kemp from Tara Costello Tara Costello

I cannot recommend highly enough Austin Kemp as a strong, commercially intelligent and the most effective negotiators. Their negotiation skills are second to none. I have seen firsthand the excellent results this team achieves for their clients.

Amber Potts

Just want to say thanks so much for everything. You have been brilliant and very patient. I always felt comfortable calling when asking to clarify certain points of the divorce.

Review of Austin Kemp from Jade Downes Jade Downes

I can honestly say that I am more than satisfied with the management of my case and of my then state of mind. I highly recommend this firm. Thank you.

Review of Austin Kemp from Shana Krug Shana Krug

Amandeep Kooner was not prepared to be swayed from a path of professionalism to accommodate my anxiety and frustration. He would not succumb to taking instructions tit for tat response. He ensured at all times that the response he gave reflected a dignified client with a pleasant demeanour. In so doing he demonstrated his commitment to protect and secure my interests and dignity off which I am most grateful.

Review of Austin Kemp from Phil Barbour Phil Barbour

Although he has a dual approached role which is business and a duty of care, Amandeep Kooner showed concerns for the level of expenditure that I had already put out with no resolve. His team contained the work to the minimum and produced the maximum results. My case was quickly progressed without compromising compassion and understanding.

Review of Austin Kemp from Audra Reid Audra Reid

Very professional service! Explained everything they were doing for my case every step of the way and really helped me to understand how we would proceed. Thank you!

Review of Austin Kemp from Charlotte Tsang Charlotte Tsang

Intellectually bright, hardworking and extremely professional - Amandeep Kooner took my case at it most difficult as I had come to the end of my ability to remain calm and patient. Up until I instructed Austin Kemp, I had lost all hope that any solicitor could convince me in pursuing a non-retaliatory approach as I was losing ground to allegations and fabrications. Tough, hardworking and extremely professional.

Review of Austin Kemp from Vanessa Blackwell Vanessa Blackwell

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